In June 2022, Toby Keith announced that he is battling stomach cancer.
The 61-year-old shared on social media at the time, "I've spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax. I am looking forward to spending time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can't wait."
Fast forward to June 2023, and Keith has not only detailed his cancer diagnosis and prognosis for the first time, but also surprised fans with two impromptu shows.
“Toby‘s first rehearsal turned into a 2 1/2 hour pop-up show. He sang all the hits plus the Bus Songs… Toby is back!” the social media post read, which included images of him looking visibly happy on stage.
The following night, Keith returned again to the stage. “It felt so right, Toby had to do it twice. Two nights in a row at Hollywood Corners Station LLC. Writing buddy Scotty Emerick joined Toby. Nights to remember! Toby’s back!” the second social media post captioned.
Since his diagnosis in 2021, Keith has undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to help treat the cancer. He recently spoke with The Oklahoman noting that, although his tumour is still present, it has shrunk by a third. He added he has enough energy to perform.
“I’ve got more wind,” he said. “And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours.”
He continued, “All I gotta do is see if I can get through two or three nights of work and get a little break in this chemo, and we’ll go back to work.”
Keith continues to undergo chemotherapy treatment along with immunotherapy to combat the cancer on all sides as well as working with a nutritionist.
"I'm about another eight weeks from my last scan," Keith said. "So, I expect next time I look for that tumour to be even less – and I've only got one that's shown up."
The last time the public saw Keith was in November 2022 when he received the BMI Icon Award at the 2022 BMI Country Awards. We can only hope now this means Keith will be returning to the road for good.
"If I do [have the energy and stamina], [I'll] be out on the road this fall," Keith said.
Keith released his latest EP, America, on May 26. The six-track project, which includes a duet with Willie Nelson, follows his 2021 album, Peso in My Pocket. Co-produced by Keith and Kenny Greenberg, the album includes songs co-written with Sammy Hagar, former front man of Van Halen, as well as cuts from the Warren Brothers, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Jessie Jo Dillon and more.
To date, Keith has had 42 top 10 hits, 32 number ones, 40 million albums sold and more than 10 billion streams. Peso In My Pocket was his first album in more than five years following the 2015 release of 35 MPH Town. He also joined Brantley Gilbert and HARDY on the smash hit, The Worst Country Song of All Time.
Keep up to date with Toby Keith on his facebook here.